At the start of the season, we launched an official Over/Under prediction game (definitely not a contest, to clarify to the legal powers that be at SB Nation HQ).
The Over/Unders were borrowed from Sportsnet’s At the Letters podcast, and were submitted by members of the BBB Braintrust.
The winner of the game was to receive three bags of virtual cheese doodles and bragging rights that they *can* predict ball. I’m happy to report we have a winner:
Here’s how all our predictions played out:
1) Randal Grichuk OBP at .2995.
UNDER (17% correct). Grichuk finished with a very Pillarian like OBP of 0.280.
2) Justin Smoak home runs at 29.5
UNDER (91% correct). Smoaky hit only 22 Smoak bombs in 2019, his lowest total since 2016.
3) Number of home runs as a team at 199.5
OVER (17% correct). The Blue Jays hit 247 dingers in 2019 (9th in MLB), up from 217 in 2018 (5th in MLB). Can anyone say “juiced ball?”
4) Number of innings pitched by Aaron Sanchez as a Blue Jay at 139.5 (192 in ‘16)
UNDER (22% correct). If you figured Sanchez wouldn’t stay healthy or that he’d be traded, this was an easy under. He stayed healthy for the first half of the season, but then he was traded. He ended up with 112.2 innings pitched as a Blue Jay in 2019.
5) Ken Giles saves as a Blue Jay at 18.5
OVER (57% correct). With only one blown save this season, Ken Giles was dominant. And then he wasn’t traded at the deadline, so he hit the over. He had 23 saves this year.
6) Defensive efficiency (how many batted balls the defense converts into outs) ranking out of all 30 teams at 18.5.
OVER (70% correct). Per Baseball Reference, the Jays finished at 19th out of 30 teams with .685, so this was a very slight over.
7) Number of wins by the pitching wins’ leader at 9.5
UNDER (26% correct). I’m not sure any of us would have predicted on Opening Day that Trent Thornton would lead the team in pitcher wins with 6.
8) Number of players who will be traded by July 31st at 7.5 (8 in ‘18)
UNDER (52% correct). In hindsight, I should have specified this referred to players who were on the major league roster at the time of their trade (which eliminates Cal Stevenson). Kevin Pillar, Eric Sogard, Marcus Stroman, David Phelps, Daniel Hudson, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini were all traded giving us a total of 7. Kendrys Morales and Dwight Smith Jr were traded before opening day.
10) How many uniform numbers will be worn by at least two players over the course of the season at 3.5 (from Minor_Leaguer)
OVER (26% correct). According to Minor Leaguer (since I have no idea how to look this up), the final number is 7: #11 (Pillar, Bichette), #33 (Jackson, Ramirez), #35 (Phelps, Stewart), #46 (Hudson, Godley), #48 (Guerra, Adam), #59 (Rosscup, Diaz), #66 (Cordero, Kingham).
11) Number of starting pitchers used at 10.5 (from Tom, 14 in ‘17 and ‘18, )
OVER (91% correct). The Blue Jays have tied the record for the second most starting pitchers used in a single MLB season with 20. Definitely not a MLB record we hoped to be breaking this season.
12) Charlie Montoyo ejections at 3.5 (from Kate, Gibbons had 7 in ‘18)
UNDER (65% correct). Charlie was extremely even keeled and calm for a first year manager on a losing team, and was only ejected twice. This puts him in the bottom third of MLB manager ejections in 2019. David Bell (CIN), Ron Gardenhire (DET) and Rick Renteria (CHW) all led the way with 8 each.
13) Number of Blue Jays named to the All Star Team at 1.5 (from dexfarkin, 2 in ‘17, 1 in ‘18)
UNDER (83% correct). The lead contenders for our pre-season All Star predictions were mainly Marcus Stroman, Ken Giles and possibly Danny Jansen. Ken Giles was more than worthy of a spot, but Stroman was the Jays lone representative.
14) How many players on the opening day roster will be on the 25-man on August 25th at 14.5 (from Matt W)
UNDER (48% correct). Another one I have no idea how to look up, so I made Matt W do it. We didn’t specify whether players on the IL counted, but since I said 25-man (active), we are going with no.
Per Matt W, of the original 25 on 8/25:
- 7 players were out of the org entirely (Pillar, Guerra, Stroman, Hudson, Biagini, Sanchez, Galvis with Clayton Richard not released until September)
- 5 were on the MLB injured list (Maile, Gurriel, Shoemaker, Richard, Luciano)
- 11 were active on the 25-man (Jansen, Smoak, Tellez, Drury, Grichuk, Teoscar, McKinney, Thornton, Giles, Gaviglio, Mayza)
- 2 were optioned (Urena, Pannone)
If we counted the injured list players, it would have been the over. So a solid over/under number set by Matt.
15) Number of games Bo Bichette and Vlad Jr play combined at 159.5 (from Tom)
OVER (39% correct). Another spot on over/under number. Bichette was called up earlier than I’m sure most of us thought he would be on July 29th. He and Vlad played 169 games total, which is just over one full season. A full season from both will be delightful next year.
16) Number of home sellouts (defined as 48,000+) at 1.5 (1 in ‘18)
UNDER (87% correct). The Jays managed to not sell out a single home game this season. The highest attended home game was the home opener on March 28th with 45,048. The next highest was Thursday, May 23rd vs the Boston Red Sox with 36,526.
17) Vlad Jr OPS at 834.5
UNDER (35% correct). Vlad Jr finished his rookie season with a .772 OPS. Considering 65% of us took the over, our expectations might have been a tad high for him.
18) Vlad Jr WAR at 2.95.
UNDER (39% correct). Baseball Reference says Vlad Jr accumulated 2.1 WAR in 123 games. Fangraphs wasn’t as kind to our former top prospect in baseball and gave him 0.4 WAR. I didn’t specify which WAR to go by, but thankfully both fall into the under.
19) Number of times the Blue Jays shut out their opponents at 8.5 (from Erik T, 3 in ‘18)
UNDER (61% correct). This may not be all that surprising considering the Blue Jays pitching staff in 2019, but the Jays shut out their opponent seven times in 2019.
20) Blue Jays wins at 72.5 (73 in ‘18)
UNDER (61% correct). This didn’t seem overly optimistic at the time, but you know...2019 happened. The Jays managed to dodge the allusive 100 loss mark and finished with 67 wins.
BONUS: Number of Loonie Hot Dogs Matt W can eat during one nine-inning game at 5.5 (from Minor_Leaguer).
OVER (67% correct). Minor Leaguer, Tom and several others can verify that Matt W consumed six whole loonie hot dogs. Matt requested that I note he could have easily done another two, probably four (for a total of 8-10) but he has more pride than to be a complete glutton.